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tv   Meet the Press  MSNBC  October 7, 2012 11:00am-12:00pm PDT

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this morning on "meet the press," just one month until election day, has the race taken a new turn? what a difference a debate makes. >> mr. president, you're entitled to your own airplane and your own house, but not to your own facts. romney delivers, the president tries to recover. >> when i got on the stage, i met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be mitt romney. the economy is again the central focus as jobs numbers drop the unemployment rate below 8%. >> we made too much progress to return to the policies that led to the crisis in the first place. >> a sign of recovery just as voters head to the polls?
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we cover it all this morning, the policy fights emerging from the debate and the politics. what does the debate reveal about these two men. plus, a preview of the vice presidential debate this coming week. this morning, a special panel, joining us, obama campaign senior adviser, robert gibbs, former republican presidential candidate, newt gingrich. democratic strategist, hilary rosen. republican strategist, mike murphy, and nbc's chief white house correspond correspondent and political director, chuck todd. and finally, what you haven't heard from arnold schwarzenegger this week, a revealing conversation with the former california governor. he talks politics and his personal failings. >> what would you like your sons to learn from your mistakes. >> i think they're not going to make the same mistakes. from nbc news in washington, "meet the press" with david gregory.
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good morning, a month to go and so much to get to. i want to get to our special roundtable discussion this morning. anchored by our own mini debate. joining me this morning, former white house secretary and senior adviser for the obama campaign, robert gibbs and former republican presidential candidate, newt gingrich. and rounding out the panel. republican strategist and columnist, mike murphy, democratic strategist, hilary rosen and nbc white house correspondent chuck todd. we have the debate to talk about, we have to look ahead. but we also have the reminder, speaker gingrich, that this is really about the economy. a new jobs numbers come out on friday. are they a game-changer in some ways in terms of how people perceive the economy? this is the "washington post" front page, certainly not something that the romney team wanted to see. the line graph showing 7.8% unemployment when obama takes office in january 2009.
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here we are in september of 2012. lowest since he took office. does this change anything? >> sure. i think it was a significant help to the president. imagine it come out at 8.2 following the debate? i mean people would have, entered this weekend saying that's close to the end. so i think it's part of the whole process. this campaign is going to go down to the end i think. it's going to be one of the most interesting campaigns in american history. and i think you're going to see it go back and forth some over the next week. on the other hand friday, the international monetary fund said probably no recovery until 20018. that's a very sobering number. >> robert gibbs, it is particularly weak. look you have 40% of those who have been out of work, out of work for six months or longer. this is a weak economic recovery. >> it's a stronger economic recovery in terms of jobs produced than we saw coming out of the 2001 recession. and the important thing, david, is we continue to make progress. 31 consecutive months now of private-sector job growth. certainly we're not where we
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want to be. it has taken us as you saw from the graphic, four years to dig out of this enormous hole that we were in. and the question going forward is, how are we going to rebuild that economy from the middle out? how are we going to make sure that folks have hope and opportunity, a good education? we bring back some of these manufacturing jobs and continue on this path to progress. >> there's a reality that on the campaign stump, mitt romney has been denied a line that he's been relying on when it comes to 8% unemployment. which was a significant marker. this is how he's been talking about it this fall. >> we've had 43 straight months with unemployment above 8%. he said he would create jobs and instead we have unemployment now still over 8% for 43 straight months. >> the symbolism, mike murphy is there for everyone to see. you get below 8% and it matters. >> it becomes a good political club for the obama folks, but fundamentally, i don't think america woke up and said hey, everything is fixed. you can still see the economic
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worry in the great words of the vice president, the middle class has been buried for four yoors. i think what has changed is not statistics out of d.c. it's the perception in the states what people think. >> but that's been a bright point, chuck. we've seen people feel better about the economy. >> and especially in certain places, like in ohio, like in virginia where the economy has performed better than the national average. but you know, it is this, you know, the obama campaign, that their belief in this has been since the sort of bill clinton explanation of digging out of this hole, has been that ultimately the last sliver of swing voters is going to say okay, let's not change horses in mid stream. they're making a classic incumbent case of saying it's not great, but, hey, do you want to start over? and i go back, i remember watching a couple of focus groups, there was one out in nevada with working women and one woman said i'm not happy with obama. i'm not happy with the economy. but god, i don't want to have to start over. there's this perception.
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so that to me is a tricky thing for romney. right romney has got to sort of make the case that we're not going to rip everything out by the roots. which is of course what some in this space do want to have happen. but i'm going to create a better recovery. a faster recovery. so i think that's what the 8% means, right? it means he's got to be more nuanced in that argument. where the president can sit there and make the same case -- do you really want to start over? >> there's another point that for the wealthy, life has been pretty good over the last several years, the stock market has doubled, ceo pay is way up. the long-term unemployed, and those jobs that were lost under the bush administration, that president obama has restored in manufacturing and the like, the key number for them is, who do i trust. to take my long-term unemployment needs, my middle class families' needs, to the next level. so i think that the combination
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of people just trusting president obama more, if you're middle class, and that he has delivered on what he said he would in terms of getting us out of this hole -- >> murphy doesn't buy that. >> is a powerful combination. >> but i think we're missing the biggest thing that's happened in the campaign. economics coming out of washington is one thing. but 80 million people got an unfiltered look at mitt romney and they like what they saw. i predict you'll see credible polls showing a significant move in the swing states and a closer race than what we've had. that's the big factor. >> we all sit in washington and get on the numbers. the average american goes outside and says, okay, 600,000 part-time jobs. 114,000 full-time jobs. gasoline the highest in history. do i feel better or in the real world, can my cousin still not find work. in the real world, is every small business in my neighborhood still stressed? i think the reason obama has never been able to pull away
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even when romney had two pretty bad weeks, is in the end there's this rubber band effect where they go well, i would almost like had to give him another shot, but this is really frightening and really painful. >> nobody is ever going to pull away in this political system. so that's never going to happen. we always know that. >> i disagree, i think they could, there was, there was a emmet moment of pull-away and the only thing that snaps it back is this feeling that things aren't -- >> the race was always going to be close. i don't think anybody would deny that. but let's be clear. let's look at where we've come, right? 800,000 jobs were being lost the first time the president read the unemployment report. i know these are just statistics for people in washington, that's real lives in america. 31 consecutive months of positive job growth are we growing as fast as we'd like to? no, but it takes long time to dig out of this avalanche of tremendously bad decisions that preceded the obama presidency. and let's understand this, the one thing they saw in the debate
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was clear -- mitt romney's plan is to back to a failed economic theory, of tax cuts for the rich. the notion that let's go to war with "sesame street" but give wall street a big wet kiss, that's exactly what got us into this mess. that's what we've spent four years digging out. >> that's really not what they saw. i get the interpretation you've got a campaign to win. but what they saw was one guy who seemed to be somebody they had never seen before. he shattered the fiction of the advertising he was the guy brimming with new ideas and energy. they saw the president of the united states who was sleepwalking the whole time. >> i don't disagree -- >> the tired contrast rang a bell with people. romney's got ideas and the president, there's no vision for a second term. >> mike, i don't doubt this was somebody they never seen before. quite frankly, i think there were people in the romney campaign that had never seen this candidate. a week ago paul ryan was asked to explain the math of a $4.8
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billion tax cut. he said i don't have time. mitt romney said, we don't do math. you cannot wish away the existence of your entire campaign platform as inconvenient as it may be when somebody says to you, okay, if you're going to reduce revenue by $4.8 trillion. you're not going to tell us one loophole that you would close, you're not going to run up the deficit and not going to run up taxes on the middle class -- it goes back to bill clinton. it's arithmetic. >> that claim is fiction, you guys don't count the loophole closing. >> name one loophole he said he would close. >> he's taurjed about mortgage interest. >> he's talked about mortgage interest? >> he's never talked about mortgage interest. >> you now have one loophole. we have one loophole. >> i'll pull back from this. >> the president says he wants to lower tax rates for big corporations, how do you pay for it? i'm going to close loopholes. what loopholes? nothing, i'll tell you after the election. you're attacking romney for
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doing exactly what your candidate is doing. >> economy, gas prices, one thing striking in the debate over jobs, is some in conservative corners were arguing about the actual numbers. jack welch had a tweet about unbelievable jobs numbers, the chicago guys will do anything, can't debate because they change the numbers. he was on "hardball" with chris matthews and this is how he explained what's behind this analysis. >> i've reviewed 14 businesses this week from restaurants to rental cars, to widgets. i have seen everybody with a, a third quarter equal to or weaker than the first quarter. in order to get 873,000 new jobs, you would have to have a gdp going at 4% to 5%. the second quarter was downgraded from 1.7 to 1.3. the third quarter is not going to be very strong. it just defies the imagination
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to have a surge larger than -- any surge since 1983, a month before the election. i leave it to you to do all the analysis. >> you know -- >> one of the most important ceos of america, formerly of general electric does this ring true to you, speaker? >> actually since it's a survey, is this outside the statistical bounds of their survey, which is plausible, but irrelevant. what's interesting is you have a president, who after four years and by the way, his last budget got zero votes in the u.s. senate. not a single democrat voted for his last budget. so you have a president of the united states so deeply distrusted, by people like jack welch, who is hardly a right winger. welch is one of the most successful businessman in america. welch instantly assumes this is the chicago machine. it's worth looking at. >> this has been, this is really making me crazy. the federal reserve gets questioned now for politics these days. the supreme court and john roberts gets questioned. we have corroded what we're
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doing. we are corroding trust in our government in a way, and one time responsible people are doing, to control it. and the idea that donald trump and jack welch, rich people with crazy conspiracies can get traction on this. is a bad, is a bad trend. >> i assume david there's a number of people that believe the real unemployment report is somewhere in a safe in nairobi with the president's kenyan birth certificate. this stuff is absolutely crazy. the notion quite frankly that somebody as well respected as jack welch would go on television and single-handedly embarrass himself for the entire day of friday, by saying somehow that these statistics are made up, i agree with chuck, it's incredibly dangerous. and we wonder why institutions in this country are, the perception of institutions in this country are failing. because people go og tv and make stuff up. ask for the evidence? he said he had none. >> and the bush head of the bureau of labor statistics came
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out after jack welch did and said -- there is no way that this could be -- these guys are not influenced -- >> it's not possible. >> when did you stop beating your wife? we have mainstreamed this stuff. >> you guys are missing the whole point. the reason people -- >> the reason people are losing respect for washington is they're losing respect for washington. not some jay right-wing crazy thing. i don't know a single small businessman or woman, who believes the next four years under obama will be good. i don't know a single small businessman who expects to hire a lot more people if obama wins the election. i travel a lot. these are not conspiracy theories or right-wingers, people look at how are they going do pay their taxes, what's the market going to be like? they're all overwhelmingly, look at the national federation of independent businesses, they go out and survey their members. >> i want to bring this advance this from the economy to the aftermath of the debate. the new cover of the new yorker gets a laugh and makes a serious
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point at the same time as we put it up on the screen and that is governor romney debating a chair. eastwooding in effect. robert gibbs, before i get hilary's take on this, simple question -- what happened? this couldn't have been the game plan for this president to go in and by all accounts, underperform against a guy whose back was against a wall, who faced a make-or-break debate. >> it's not rocket science to believe that the president was disappointed in the expectations that he has for himself. but look, i think part of that was because as i said earlier, we met a new mitt romney. we met a mitt romney that wanted to walk away from the central theory of his economic plan, which is his tax cut. i don't have a tax cut that's 4.8 trillion or $5 trillion. i'm not going to cut taxes on the rich. i don't have a medicare voucher plan. i love teachers, i think we need more of them. don't believe me, speaker gen grich was pretty eloquent in
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saying mitt romney will say absolutely anything to get elected. and if somebody says absolutely anything to get elected, you have to wonder what they're going to say. >> you didn't say he was fomt y fundamentally dishonest. so this not a new attack against romney policy. >> i think that the challenge for the obama people is pretty simple. the president of the united states had 90 minutes. if he had done his homework. if he had actually prepared. if he had actually studied romney, why didn't he say it? why didn't he take romney head-on? the charges on the tax cuts are just plain wrong and i think virtually every analyst has said and even your deputy campaign manager said, the charge was made and so on. forgetting that for a second. the job of the president is supposed to be to be competent and to be able to stand up for what he believes in and to be able to articulate what's wrong. mitt romney walked over him. it's funny that eastwood now just as mr. green, i paid for this microphone was one of ronald reagan's breakthrough
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moment. the weird moment with eastwood and an empty chair may be symbolic of the first debate. >> the issue of the taxes alone, the big knock against governor romney here is that he walks away from a $5 trillion tax cut plan. he assumes that tax cuts spur growth and make the math work. simpson bowles say his math doesn't add up. you either explode the deficit. raise the middle class tax cuts, something has to give. >> something has to give and we just heard mike say that maybe the thing that gives is mortgage interest deductions. the single most important thing to middle class american families. and that's going to be and we'll get to this later. that's going to be a challenge for paul ryan. i think that what we have experiencing right now and we just said it, is that this sort of style over substance is, is, i don't think going to overtake this race. i think you have a president who was trying to move the facts out. was facing a guy who, who he
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hadn't seen before. either mitt romney is completely faking everything he said, or he is, is a liar. so -- either way. >> when you see the style over substance, it shouldn't matter. the truth is optics are important. >> look, style -- >> ask richard nixon, the president in 1960. >> i do think in fairness, it is fair for the american people, to want to see their president fight for them. and the barack obama every day that they see on the campaign trail, the barack obama we saw in wisconsin the day after the debate is a president who is fighting for them. and this president has to do that in those moments when there are millions of people -- >> here was an example of the closing statement by the president. that people felt was so lackluster. watch a short clip of this. >> you know four years ago, i said that i'm not a perfect man and i wouldn't be a perfect president, that's probably a promise that governor romney thinks i've kept.
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>> mike murphy? >> yeah. the president as the speaker said, the president got a huge chunk of unfiltered television time and he lost the debate because he had nothing to say. that's the fundamental problem of the obama campaign. very short on accomplishments, huge new national debt. none of the jobs we promised, they're literally trying to start a parade about economic statistics, saying things are just as bad as they were when he started. what i think worked in the debate is romney seemed like a guy with ideas and energy. if they can bury romney, they can win no matter what. romney broke through that in the debate and it changed the race. >> style has always mattered in these things, it is the feel that you get for a candidate, whether it was kennedy, nixon, carter, ford, reagan carter. when reagan lost the first debate, mondale looked like he had energy. and he looked like he had ideas and reagan look eed listless.
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that's one thing that obama people can say it's recoverable because there are more debates. but this was bad. and his own supporters, i went to this denver rally. to a person they were like, what was that? what was, and they were your supporters, robert. >> look, let's continues pennsylvania with style. i don't doubt that style is important. let's understand exactly, because i want to drill down -- >> the president who loved style dispensing with style. >> this is a president who is serious about substance and is wondering where it is that mitt romney went with his substance. i bought a whiteboard last night. i should have brought it there's a $4.8 trillion reduction in revenue, okay? according to mitt romney's own plan. there's a 20% rate reduction from the bush tax cuts, we're going to end the estate tax. we're going to cut the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25%. you cannot sit here, mr. speaker or anybody can sit here and say that doesn't require a reduction in the amount of revenue by $4.8
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trillion. >> i'll say it i'll say it. >> moderates, levels, everybody says here's the problem, you guys won't give them any credit for closing loopholes. he won't name the loopholes, you're attacking him for not giving you the target and you tack him when you get the target. >> and it's like admitting that the substance doesn't match up. >> if there's substance, why do, you keep bringing up substance. let me hear some obama substance. your substance is always to attack romney. >> if he had a couple of sharp ideas and looked like he liked the job, he would have had a much better debate. >> mitt romney said my health care plan will do the same thing. >> it doesn't seem to me that it's as binary as this, mr. speaker. think there's an issue of whether something has to give. can you talk about fact checkers, simpson and bowles, i've spoken to them specifically and romney praises them. they say look the math doesn't add up. something has to give. you have to specify where the deductions are, you can't
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increase defense spending, extend the bush tax cuts, do 20% on top of that and just say, well no, it's going to be okay. we'll grow our way into it. that does raise a fair amount of scrutiny. >> sure. i think that's legitimate. first of all. romney has said to the degree they can't get the loopholes closed in congress, he'll reduce the tax break. that he's going to stick to the principle, it's going to pay for itself. second, there's a genuine intellectual argument over whether he should count economic growth. simpson and bowles don't count economic growth. harvard report came out and said $58 billion a year higher growth. third, romney has an energy plan which dramatically expands american oil and gas, the royalties alone are worth $750 billion over the next 20 years. to the federal government. fourth, i think you got to look carefully at how romney structured it. what he said is something that frankly true supply side is, it's good politics. he said, i will close enough
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deductions that wealthy americans will not get a net tax cut. that's a clear description. >> and it's possible -- let me say this standing on the stage with you in arizona, this is what mitt romney said. number one, i said today we're going to cut taxes on everyone across the country. across the country by 20%, including the top 1%. mr. speaker, you mentioned that your opponent, mitt romney had a problem with being dishonest and the primary my question is, was he dishonest when he said that? >> i think it's clearly changed. >> i think -- >> we don't disagree that he changed. >> let me do this. >> let me get a break in. with several different directions we're going to keep going. talking about the economy. talking about the aftermath of the debate. we want to look forward to the next debate. which is biden on and ryan. we also want to go inside the numbers with chuck todd for a look at how the campaign is feeling good. the romney campaign after the first debate. looking at some of the enthusiasm. later my conversation as i mentioned with arnold schwarzenegger. more to come with our special panel. nel right after this.
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excuse me, governor. excuse me, groovernor, mr. president? >> what's up? >> mr. president, governor romney has just said that he killed osama bin laden. would you care to respond? >> no, you two go ahead. >> some fun at the president's expense there. robert gibbs, i want to get you on the record on this. what specifically does the president have to do better in the next debate? >> well, look, i think you're going to see a very engaged president that is, ready and willing to call out whichever mitt romney shows up. >> i'm not going to take away from mitt's mastderful performan performance, he did everything but learn tap dancing. >> one of the things we're measuring, waiting for polls to reflect the debate. what you're seeing inside the numbers about enthusiasm and it's significant. >> this was before the debate.
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our nbc/"wall street journal" poll. we had a likely voter model that had the president only up three at the time, 49-46. the question is why, what is going on that has republicans doing better and becoming more likely voters? it's simply an enthusiasm gap that we're see being across the board. >> 79% of republicans call themselves extremely interested in this election on a scale of 1-10, that meanser that a 9 or a 10 on interest in the election, 73% are democrats. four years ago it was a 13-point gain in favor of the democrats. >> voting groups, this is an important group. seniors are an important voting group to mitt romney. he leads them by 10 points in our "wall street journal" poll. four years ago it was 81%, pretty high, even high they are time at 81% and romney is doing better among seniors than mccain did. let me go do an important voting group for the president, young voters, look at this engagement level. 52% that call themselves voters,
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18-34 call themselves extremely interested in this election. four years ago, it was 72%. the president wins young voters by huge margins, by 20-plus points, but if you don't have this kind of enthusiasm they're not going to show up to the polls. and the laust one, the president is winning hispanics by 50 points, he hit the in terms of interest in the election. 59% now, it was 77%. ha dwos it mean? the president got 55% of hispanics four years ago. even though he's going to get more hispanics, if less of them turn out it's a net zero. you look at republican enthusiasm up senior enthusiasm up. and all of this, predebate. >> hillary rosen, one of the things you're talking about the president's record, how he runs on the record and leans forward as well. david brooks' column struck me
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complimentary of governor romney. he wrote politically the president will have to go back to portraying romney as a flynn hp flopper instead of an ideologue. so far president obama has seemed driven by the negative passion of stopping republican extremism. he'll have to develop a positive passion for something he actually wants to do. do in a second term. >> yeah, well i think he might be right. to this degree -- but president obama has a record. i mean, we have completely changed how education is being evaluated. president's race to the top, support for community colleges. we've invested in new alternative energies, because everybody knows despite what mitt romney said that the only way we're going to become energy-independent is with a mix of energy sources. he has provided health care so much to the extent that mitt romney started to claim credit again for what he could do in health care. this, this actually is a president with a record beyond just digging us out of our jobs
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hole. and i think, though, that it's important when we look at the going forward. going forward isn't just about the economy. because people don't live in that binary world where they only care about the economy. yes, it's the most important issue. but if you're a mom worried about your reproductive health and having to buy insurance separately from your family to get, to pay for that, you know, that's an extra burden on your economic issues. if you're an immigrant, you know worrying about whether your family is going to be deported or your kid is going to be able to stay in high school. that's an extra burden. if you're a gay or lesbian worried about whether you're going to get fired from your job because president obama wants to protect your job and mitt romney doesn't, that's an extra thing you have to worry about. i think americans actually live in a very wholistic world. and president obama gets that and mitt romney doesn't. >> i'm i mused is that every time there's a discussion about president obama's vision, it's an attack on mitt romney.
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if they were out, running a debate and run a campaign with interesting new ideas to get people excited about voting for them, they'd be in better shape. instead they're running an old political consultant campaign. i know it well called the zero sum, which is the other guy's worse. that was working, romney was in trouble. the negative ads were working, mitt scissor hands all over tv. romney got a shock and everybody is taking a second look. the real question is can the romney campaign take this moment and run with it? if so, the obama campaign, which is only going to get more negative, that's what fear does in a campaign is going to look smaller and smaller. >> i know there's a bunch you want to respond to. can i talk tactics here? speaker are we going to see mitt the moderate now? is this what he's doing with the second look? he talks about he doesn't want to gut financial reform? >> but he said that in south carolina, back in january. >> he's touting health care instead of talking about replacing it all the time. >> he's talking about replacing obama care, which is partly how he pays for his tax cuts, he
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cuts out all the spending built into obama care. >> let me go back to one example that hilary uses, 86% of americans favor an energy independence plan that romney is depending on. five counties in eastern ohio that have five billion barrels of oil. something people didn't know a year and a half ago. all of a sudden you have an entire explosion of new energy sources in this country. that's why romney talks about okaying the keystone pipeline. romney has two other advantages. >> reagan approved more things that any administration has, ever. >> finish your point and then we'll take a break. >> romney now has two great advantages that reagan had. the first is, there are real substantive differences in the two approaches. the second is, every time they run a truly vicious ad and then you see romney in the debate. he's not the person they ran the ad about. it's what happened to reagan in 1980. >> we'll come back and hear more from robert gibbs responding.
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we'll previewed debate between the vice president and paul ryan and hear from arnold schwarzenegger as well. we'll come back after this. fire bad! just have to fire roast these tomatoes. this is going to give you a head start on your dinner. that seems easier [ female announcer ] new progresso recipe starters. five delicious cooking sauces you combine with fresh ingredients to make amazing home-cooked meals.
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>> we're thinking ahead at the vice president showed down, vice president biden, paul ryan, the weekly standard has the cover here previewing the big debate, the debate smackdown. ryan feeling good and here's biden maybe looking a little frayed here. robert gibbs how do you see this
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shaping up? will we see biden overcompensating? >> i don't think that vice president biden will overcompensate. i think the question is which paul ryan do we get? do we get this same sort of chameleon that we saw in mitt romney that literally walks away from virtually everything that he's campaigned on for two years in the space of less than two hours. i know that vice president biden is anxious and ready to do this the president is anxious to get -- >> how do you size him up? >> i think ryan is one of the brightest people in the congress and knows an immense amount of facts, but i suspect he's going to be respectful of biden. there's a generational difference here. that i think will lead ryan to not give an inch but to not be very hostile. and -- >> and i was going do say, history shows that when there have been age differences, the elder statesmen wins these vice presidential debate. cheney and edwards was almost able to smack down edwards.
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you know, joe biden, yes, everybody talks about the gas on the trail. the guy i would argue most of the democratic primary won of the democratic debates in 2008. >> but this is a high wire act with joe biden. they're going to be pouring jolt cola down his throat. they're going to have a couple of days of bad polling. ryan is impressive, but hasn't done this before. and you've got biden who is a high wire act in an attack mode which isn't always his natural place. >> here's my question if i can ask you, hilary. there is an immediate reaction to these debates about how do you feel. because there's so much information and this was such a substantive debate because you pointed out between romney and the president. you can't score all of that at home. and there is an initial impression and a second impression that can develop over time. how does that factor in? we've seen it i mean you've heard it here from robert, they're going to try to ground down romney on the idea he's a chameleon. that was different from wow, he really performed well.
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>> interestingly, the groups of undecided showed that they didn't necessarily change their vote one way or the other. i think when you have paul ryan is not going to be able to do what mitt romney did. he was the chairman of the budget committee for goodness sakes, it would be an affront to him to have make up all of these numbers and so i -- i think you'll kind of have the opposite of what we had before. where president obama got a little wonky and mitt romney got pretty aggressive and high style. joe biden is going to have the style in this debate and ryan is going to be the wonk and the question is whether eel tell the truth on the numbers. >> let me switch gear as little bit to a different performance this week that got a lot of attention. i had a chance to sit down with a familiar face to this program, arnold schwarzenegger, former governor of california, a high-profile figure in the republican party but recent revelations about his personal conduct have hurt his reputation to say the very least. you have noticed he's been out this week with a new book called
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total recall. my unbelievably true story. in which he details what he says are his successes and his failures. governor schwarzenegger, welcome back to "meet the press." >> good to be back again. >> i want to talk about your book and some of the personal aspects. but let's start with politics. you're still a high-profile voice in the republican party. what do you make of this race, can governor rom any win this election? >> i think the race is wide open. and i think there's a lot of things that change all the time. especially he it gets close to the election. so i think either one of them can win it. it's really depends. >> are you naive optimist when it comes to your belief in post partisanship. you see what goes on in this town. it's a work of your job as a professor and your institute at usc. how does post partisanship happen when you see the polarization in washington and how poorly things work here? >> i've seen firsthand when you bring both of the parties together and if you do the people's work, if you see yourself as a public servant
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rather than a party servant, i think you can get much more done. if you've seen it, we've seen it, i mean just look, even during the big battles and the fights between the democrats and republicans, and ronald reagan came into office and they looked at social security, he appointed the bipartisan commission. in 1983, they moved it forward past legislation and reformed social security. so those are the kind of things i've seen it when i was governor. we brought democrats and republicans together. we made the commitment to rebuild california. we did all of our progress in reducing the greenhouse gas and maging a commitment to 33% of renewables by the year 2020 and stem-cell research and in 2005 when i thought i can go off by myself and it's my way or the highway just with the republican party, we going to grind it out. it failed miserably. and so i learned firsthand, that
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the only action is, is when both parties come together. >> former governor of california, you understand demographic shifts in the country very well. the latino population very well. dilute the midwest and the rest of the country. the reality is that as a party, republicans are going to be doomed if they don't find a way to court hispanics in a way to really appeal to them on issues and things that hispanics care about, a full range of things. what do republicans do? ha does romney do, what does the party do. you've been in the situation. >> we have one of the great senators, senator mccain. has for years been a strong believer in immigration reform and he worked together with senator kennedy. he reached across the aisle. i think both of them had a great plan laid out i think they should readdress the plan for the last ten years, maybe four,
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i haven't become governor, they've talked about needing immigration reform and every time they get into it they say we have an election coming up. well hello, there's a history of america that every two years there's an election. you know, every four years there's a presidential election. there's nothing new, you've got to get the people's work done. we need immigration reform, we've got to solve this problem. we've got to secure the border and we've got to go and make a decision what do we do with the people that are here now. they're scared. that's what is really, frustrating in the way because you have political leader and you have come to capitol hill. you can't be scared of things and hope that you get re-elected and it becomes the number one interest. your number one interest should be, you should not worry about keeping your position, keep your seat. every police officer, every firefighter, every one ever our brave men and women that go overseas, they risk their lives, their lives, every day.
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they never know if they're ever come home and see their family again. and our politicians are afraid of losing their seat? i mean it takes a little bit more balls to run this job and to do this kind of a profession. i mean that's how you get things done. so that's what we need, political courage to go in there, to fix the problems, there's five, six major problems that we have in the united states and they need to be fixed and they should stop picking around and pointing fingers and each other that is not going to build any roads and that's not going to make our ire clean. air clean. >> in your book you lay bare your personal life and your struggles here. having affairs is something that's been surmountable for political figures, public figures in this country. you took it astep beyond. you fathered a child with the family housekeeper. publicly humiliated your wife, maria shriver over and over again. do you think you've lost credibility as a political voice, high-profile political voice in the country? >> i don't think so. but let me tell you -- if the
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people are angry at me, i deserve that and there was a major screw-up and i as you said, i've hurt my wife. i' hurt the kids, think they went through a lot of pain and i take the responsibility and i will do everything i can, if someone asks me what are you going to do in the next few years, i will say that i will professionally continue with my acting, i will continue with the political stuff and with my institute at usc. but at the same time i will be working as hard as possible on relationships and our family to bring the family together again. >> are you a man of good character? >> i think so. >> even after everything you've done. >> look i'm sure you made mistakes, i'm sure a lot of people out there made mistakes. i made my fair share of mistakes and that's what my book is about. it's not just about the victories. and about the great things that i've accomplished. my book is an honest book that where i also talk about my
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failures. and in the movie business my failures, the political failures, and also my personal life, the failures. >> it's interesting, part of the book, i would imagine and part of interviews you've done throughout the week where you talk more personally, about your divorce and the break-up of your marriage and the affairs. do you think you come across as a sim dhetic figure? because a lot of people saw the "60 minutes" interview and were you asked about affairs and you said i'm not perfect. i got to think a lot of people are thinking, i just don't think that's going to fly. >> i have no intentions to make it fly nor do i have intention to do an interview with you today and sound sympathetic. people should make up their minds about this stuff. i'm not going to tell people what to think about me. i'm a person that reaches out and is working hard to give back to this country. and i'm a person that has been very successful. and that has tremendous will.
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and tremendous visions for the future. and always, i chase my visions. i'm you know, a very inspirational immigrant story. but at the same time, i also have that side, the dark side of making those kind of mistakes, and that kind of personal failure. and i'm the first one to admit to those things, i'm not looking for sympathy at all. people should make up their own mind of what they think of me. >> what would you like your sons to learn from your mistakes? about their relationships with women and their life and just generally? >> i think that i have the most unbelievable children. and they you know, spend so much time with me and they spend even much more time with their mother. maria is an extraordinary person. and an extraordinary woman, an outstanding mother. i think that our children are going to go in the right direction because of that. and i mean they had really terrific -- >> is there a specific lesson
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you'd like your sons to learn? >> i think they're not going to make the same mistakes. i think that i'm an inspiration to my children for all the stuff that i've accomplished. and they also recognize the pain that i've caused them because of what i've done. >> i want to before you go end on more of a political note. back when you were running for office, an issue here, at nbc you were on the "today show" back in 2003 and there was a notable exchange that you write about with matt lauer and i want to play a piece of that tape. >> real quickly, are you going to make your tax returns for the past several years available to the press? >> say again? >> settle are you going to make your tax returns for the past several years available to the press. >> i didn't hear you. >> apparently we are losing audio with arnold schwarzenegger in los angeles. arnold, i thank you for your time. we appreciate it very much. >> now governor, you actually heard just fine, didn't you, at that particular moment? >> not that i can remember. >> here's what you wrote about
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that exchange that we just played you with matt lauer. he pressed me for specifics on how to bring back the california economy and when i would release my tax returns. i realized i was unprepared. unable to answer, i finally had to resort to the old grouch or marx stunt that the connection was bad. lauer ended the interview by saying apparently we are losing the audio with arnold schwarzenegger, it was my lamest performanceor. >> maria was really mad about it. she called me and said, you have to start thinking about what you're going to say when you do these interviews. i said, you better believe it. there's a lot of things i have to learn now that i'm on the campaign trail. >> would you run for political office again? you told me in our last interview, never say never. >> never say never. but i don't see that in front of me. usually i have very clear visions of where i want to go. and i think my vision now is to work very hard on this usc
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schwarzenegger institute that will address the issues that i've addressed in sacramento and also address the issues that we could not complete. because you go in as governor with a huge list of goals that you want to achieve, very ambitious list and if you achieve half of it, you're lucky. i achieved half of those things, but the other half, i didn't. i want to continue working on those things. >> we'll leave it there, arnold schwarzenegger, governor, thank you. a whole interview is on our website, press pass conversation. hilary rosen, your reaction? >> the one thing i liked what he said, was working across the aisle. actually president obama worked with governor schwarzenegger to refine the emission standards, which is saving a lot of fuel today. but shame on arnold schwarzenegger. he has the nerve to sit there and say that he, nothing is more important to him than his family? and yet he's, he wrote this book, you know embarrassed his family further.
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and is keeping it out there on the front pages, i'm kind of appalled that he has the nerve to even suggest it matters. >> mike murphy, you worked for him, do you think he could get over this in any fashion? >> i loved the lauer interview, because he hired me the next day. he's a good friend of mine. so is maria. it's a tragic thing and he made a horrible, stupid mistake, which he's taken responsibility for. i'm not sure what else he can do. but what he did was really bad and he knows it. >> i don't think he needs to promote it. >> people can read the book and figure out what they think. >> people ask me why do you love politics, for better or worse, it's because you get interesting characters. that take off like arnold schwarzenegger. you can't predict it. you couldn't figure out what is going to happen. so it does seem his priorities are off-skew, but you know what, that's his life. that's his decision, that's his business and that's his bedroom. but -- he is sort of the epitome of why i love american politics.
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you never know who going to pop up. you never know how they're going to get dlxt you never know how they're going to leave the stage. it's a quintessential of what makes it interesting and new. >> newt gingrich does he have any credibility as a political voice in the country? >> i don't think so. look i think he and maria are each examples of extraordinary citizenship. what she's doing on alzheimer's is just enormously important and has a real impact. and she's going do make a real difference. on the other hand, here's this austrian kid from a small town, ends up being mr. world and ends up making movies and ends up being a great investor in california real estate and a multimillionaire governor and at one time was the highest box-office czar in the world. i agree with what you said this is what makes america such an astonishing country. is he imperfect? yes. is he likely to be seen as adviser on morality? no. is he likely to ever run for office again? no. part of the mosaic that makes us
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truly an astonishing country. both he and maria are part of that. >> and just a horrible and tragic personal story. for everybody involved. we're going leave it there and thank you all very much for your discussion. stay with nbc news for the vice presidential showdown on thursday. biten versus ryan, it starts at 9:00 p.m. eastern. i will join brian williams and our news team after for a full analysis. if it's sunday, it's "meet the press." [ male announcer ] you're not the type of person who sets goals and only hopes to achieve them.
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